On to the next decade…

 

I feel so sad at work at times. Not because the place is a bad place to work, but because I work with a transient work-force of young people who are (generally) ‘going places’, know what they want do with their lives (career-wise) and approach life with positivity and excitement – whilst I watch them travel past me, as I am clueless to the pathways of career and life opportunities. and I am left behind, devoid of the tools to pave my own way.
I’ll tell you what brings this all home the most; the young-20’s pretty girls, brainy, deep, good morals – one’s I’d be happy to marry – this hurts the most, when they find handsome confident boyfriends who know how to ‘exist’ in this kind of world. I want one, (one of these girls that is, not one of their boyfriends) but who’d want to settle down with a man who’s’ brain approaches jobs and careers like it would approach a foreign-language instruction manual? I’m so stuck as I enter a new decade and I don’t know what path to tread next – I can’t even see a path.
I can put up NO strong case as to why I feel so clue-less as to what to do with my life, I cannot find anything to utilise my rickety soul which might spurr me on to do something – now that I am at a confidence and ideas brick wall with my ‘noughties motor’; My artwork production. Fucking hell, I’ve even reversed my great efforts I made last year; I’m back on Facebook (the social networking site) meekly trying to grab the attention of any ‘other’ as they fly past me in life.
People may say that I’m “not trying to move forward” or “there’s plenty of stuff that you could be doing” but I’ve come to a point where my mind is in something similar to a ‘winter fog’ – cold, nothing growing, and I can’t see anything in front of me, anything at all.
The 2010’s cannot proceed like the 00’s – it isn’t possible for me to carry on down this route, not mentally, physically or financially. I have bent over backwards for the benefit of my creative productiveness in this decade but, minus a few individuals, I feel humiliated and inferior in the position I have found myself in as a 26 year old man – on low income pay, still living with his parents, and has never been in a relationship.
In a different era, duty or necessity may have made me into a more rounded human being, but in this post-thatcher Britain I have felt alien towards the things that were expected of me – and my creative pursuits (like a bloke with a gun who barricades himself in from the police) were my only resistance to this alien feeling and feelings of inadequacy; but I have whittled-down these ‘fruits’ and I am currently empty of new ideas.
Through my almost once-a-month drops into depression in the ‘noughties’, I have developed political views and morals of which I am pleased about developing; my alienation from the consumer society and a general Thatcherite ethos (even spouted by those who should know better, i.e., ex-miners) has landed me at a place from where I really want to be part of something different. Something opposed to the world of the ‘glazed-eyed consumer kids’, opposed to ‘a nation of car-owners’ – and also something which encourages a new way of living which our climate change-threatened planet may just grant us.
So far I am not really part of anything of this sort, because I still don’t know how to penetrate the membrane of my home town (Barnsley) with my ideas and creations – and, as much as I’d like it (Barnsley) to take notice, I feel like I have been exhibiting my work inside a small cupboard in a room in which only I enter. Perhaps I’ll have to give up trying within my home town in the ‘2010s’ because it is really not helping the person whom I cannot help but be. But the thing is, I cannot currently see any path – through my ‘mental winter fog’ – mental or physical, which can offer me a way out of Kexborough (a small council estate village on the edge of Barnsley). I’m stuck for plans for my life, I’m stuck for new artworks, I’m stuck in Barnsley and I’m stuck being a loner.
I remember at the start of the year 2000 that there was much optimism – in society in general. I’d recently, in the spring of 1999, begun building my perpetual walls, but I was still to realise what damage they’d do and how long standing they would be. I was still relatively full of youthfully-sentimental feeling towards life (which would remain, more or less, until 2001/2002). I day-dreamed whilst listening to the Stone Roses; I’d yet to become glued to more serious and sobering music of bands such as ‘The The’, ‘Radiohead’, ‘Pink Floyd’ and ‘Joy Division’, and I’d yet to become so worried about the stability of humanity upon our planet. Maybe the abundance of day-dreams I had during the 1990’s made me inadequate to deal with the becoming of an adult person in the 00’s, but one thing’s for sure; I don’t day-dream any more, I just worry about things.
The 1990’s seemed to be quite a joyous and optimistic period to me anyway. I was too young to experience them properly, but I certainly picked up on a positivity. For me, the 00’s have been sobering, and I think they may have been too for most people who are concerned about things enough to see through the ‘consumer-veneer’ which as been so shiny in the 00’s. But that’s just it; not many people, especially amongst the youth, seem to be concerned about the health of our society in the 00’s – they don’t seem to be able to look further than the aisles of the shopping Centre. For me the 00’s were coated in a ‘veneer of Consumer confidence’ covering the underlying pessimism; people of all incomes, more than in any other decade, have been able to drape themselves in a veneer that gives off an aura of prosperity and happiness, which has formed a shallow crust over a deep-seated fear and anxiety about the world in the 21st century – a truth that is wedging itself ever-nearer to the surface due to circumstances towards the end of this decade. Sometimes I wish I didn’t worry about the ‘underlying volcanoes’ as I think that this has contributed to the stifling of me, in terms of everything apart from being a artist who makes (apparently) ‘disturbing imagery’ – I wish I had women woe’s instead of world woe’s banging in my head.
At the moment nobody in my family seems to be having a great time either. Sharing this house is putting extra pressure on us all – hardly a scene I’d have imagined at the start of the 00’s. I feel that both me and my sister are under enormous pressure to become something we eternally cannot be, a pressure to wane our principles to the unbending force of Thatcherite Britain, before it finally breaks us. The extra humiliation of a 26 year old who still cannot ‘pay his way’ is acting on me like a spike stuck to the seat on which I sometimes want to sit with my hands over my face, but this is certainly no Hollywood depiction of one’s dismay; no song accommodates ones emotions in reality and no happy ending is waiting already, in the script.
Last night there was a show on TV named ‘the best shows of the 00’s’. I have hardly watched any of this stuff – I’ve head very little of the music which may have been classed as ‘the music of the decade’ either. As well as it being an artistically productive decade for me it has also been a very lost decade – I knew so many of the ‘best bands’ and ‘best shows’ of the 1990’s and they are still the one’s which I reference back to now. Partly, I think I have a leg to stand on when saying that pop culture, including new ‘alternative music’ had degenerated greatly in the 00’s – as the ‘alternative music’ has been so packaged and commodified, on a much more commercially advanced level, that much of it is like pulped chicken meat. However, this would be diverting from the main reasons for my loss of experience of ‘the arts’ in the 00’s I’ve basically lost enjoyment of things because I’m so stuck in my routines and worries that I can find no time time to listen to, and appreciate, new films, drama’s, music. The bad thing is; it gives me little refreshing small-talk for which to use with others s – I mean!, where the hell would I even take a girl for a date? the only thing I know to do, which isn’t routine based, is to blast my perpetual walls with alcohol.
If I made a resolution for 2009, it was to pull down these barriers that are ruling my life; but it didn’t work so I’m going to have to try this resolution for 2010 too – give it another go. It is crucial that I separate my life from this wall, so that I can distinguish between what problems have been my own and what problems are the result of external forces. This ‘blurring’ is apparent throughout all my writing in 2009 and, hopefully, the previous chapter (using ‘the arts’ as an example) has made a step towards understanding this; that some of my problems are not the fault of ‘Consumerism’, ‘Capitalism’ etc, and are my own – then I might be better equipped to strangle them. This would be of help if I want to do what I say I want to do, and help the world; as I would no longer be using battles with my own made demons and blaming them on the world.
I wish, and hope, that I can be strong for the 2010’s because I fear that they are going to be the start of a turbulent time for humans, upon this planet. I am deeply concerned that the second decade of the 21st century may have the headlines, written within it, that determine the rest of the century – just like how the First World War and the Russian revolution, in the 1910’s, wrote the blueprint for the 20th century. We all need to be strong because it is ‘clear science’ that humanity is going to be forced to change its ways upon the planet, if we want to proceed with the technological and social betterment’s, which have stopped us living in small tribes and tearing the shit out of each other – If we do not change we might end up back in this ‘primitive’ place, but on a far-less healthy planet.

About John Ledger

A visual Artist, eternal meanderer and obsessive self-reflector by nature, who can’t help but try to interpret everything from within the tide of society. His works predominantly take the form of large scale ballpoint pen landscape drawings and map-making as social/psychological note-making. They are slowly-accumulating responses to crises inflicted upon the self in the perplexing, fearful, empty, and often personality-erasing human world.

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